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B.C. legislation would encourage housing near transit hubs

Busy bus stops with multiple routes and rapid transit stations like for the SkyTrain are the focus of the province’s latest plan to increase housing density.

“To help deliver housing to places already served by transit, and so more people can live and work in communities that they call home,” said Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon, when announcing the new legislation Wednesday afternoon.

The proposed legislation requires municipalities to designate areas near bus exchanges and rapid transit as transit-oriented development areas.

Within those transit-oriented development areas, developers will be allowed to build up to a minimum height.

In Metro Vancouver, near SkyTrain stations, the minimum allowable height will be 20 storeys.

In mid-size cities, like Victoria and Kelowna, the minimum allowed height is 10 storeys, and in smaller communities, it’s six storeys

The new laws also do away with parking requirements at these new builds.

Kahlon says removing parking requirements will make developments much cheaper and more attractive to builders—and in turn, buyers—saving them upwards of $50,000 per unit.

He also says developers are still free to build parking spots as desired, just not as a requirement.

“We know parking is going to be needed, we know parking is going to get built. We’re saying let’s build the right amount of parking, depending who they’re trying to serve,” said Kahlon.